October 2, 2020

Homily Ten on the Sacred Liturgical Books of the Orthodox Church: "The Typikon" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


The Sacred Liturgical Books of the Orthodox Church:
The Typikon

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
On the Analogion, which stands in front of the Chanters, where books are kept that they use for their work, there are various other small books that are useful. Among them is the Psalter, which has all the Psalms of David that are read with the established services and are chanted. There is also the Engolpion of the Reader. This book has the most useful and necessary elements for the Chanter and the Reader, so that they do not lose a lot of time finding them in other books.
But today, in this last sermon, we will mention another very useful book called the Typikon.

The word typikon is derived from the [Greek] word typos, which means "archetype", "prototype", "rule", "term", "example". Both the words typos and typikon are derived from the verb typoo, which means "to beat", "knock", which comes from the sound formed by the beating, and that is why the word typikon in political administration is called "the decree", "the law".
In ecclesiastical life, the word Typikon means the regulations and the formalities of the Sacred Monasteries, which determine all the issues related to the life of the monks of the Sacred Monastery. In addition, the word Typikon indicates the order in which the Sacred Services must be governed.

The order of worship began to take shape from the apostolic age, continued in the period of the Apostolic Fathers and progressed, as the population of the Church grew and the services, the troparia and the order of the Mysteries of the Church and the Sacred Services were formed. Thus, diagrams were formed of the services of the Antiochian model of the 4th and 5th century, then of the Jerusalem model of the 7th century, and later of the Constantinople model.

Today, when we talk about the book of the Typikon, we mean the book that defines the way and the order with which the worship of the Church takes place. It has already been emphasized in previous sermons that there are immovable feasts, such as the memorials of Saints and some Despotic and Mother of God feasts, and moveable feasts, such as Easter, Ascension, Pentecost and all those associated with them. Thus, there are various books, such as the Parakletiki which refers to the feasts of the week, the Menaia, which refer to the festive events of each day of the year, and the Triodion and the Pentecostarion which refer to the Passion, the Cross, the Resurrection, and Pentecost.

Apparently, on a Sunday that is a resurrection day, the feasts of Christ and the Panagia can coincide, but also the feasts of Saints of those who are celebrated and those who are not.
There must, therefore, be a general rule, but also more specific provisions, that is, a Typikon which regulates which of the troparia should be chanted, which should precede, which doxastikon one will chant that day, and many other matters, so that there will be uniformity in the worship of our Church. Thus, the need to create an authentic Typikon was presented.

Many efforts were made, but what prevailed in our days is the Typikon of the Great Church of Christ of Constantinople, which was compiled by the Protopsaltis George Violakis, who was considered a member of two Committees, with the purpose of establishing a Typikon for worship.

In this Typikon, after the introduction, the preamble of the Typikon is recorded, which is a text that shows the rules that govern the services. He then sets out the formal order of Vespers and of Matins, of the daily services, of Sunday, of the monthly Despotic and Mother of God feasts and of the feasts of the Saints, and the formal order of the services of the Triodion and the Pentecostarion. This preamble must be read by all Chanters and those who are engaged in the worship of the Church.

In the appendix of the Typikon is recorded the typikon of various services of the Patriarchal Temple, and other services.

An experienced Chanter, having this Typikon and knowing the entire preamble of the Typikon, can make the choice of what to chant each time, following the various circumstances. When I was a child, I used to go to the Analogion, I would watch the Protopsaltis of the Metropolitan Church arrange the Typikon of the service of that day based on the book of the Typikon by Georgios Violakis. Because, however, this is a difficult task for everyone, that is why years ago this special case study was done by the Synodal Committee of the Church, which publishes each year the Typikon, that includes the formal orders, namely the Menologion of the year and the annual references, that is, the canonical organization of the Orthodox Church.

Unfortunately, many modern Chanters not only do not know how to handle the Typikon of the Great Church of Christ by George Violakis, but they cannot handle all the other books and, of course, the "Diptychs of the Church", which is why they choose other easier ways from the internet.

The general conclusion is that there must be order in the worship of the Church, but there must also be order in the whole life of the Church. Not everyone can do what they want, they cannot go beyond the limits of the Fathers and the Ecumenical Synods, as far as faith and life go.

The Apostle Paul writes: "
Let all things be done decently and in order" (1 Cor. 7:40). He also writes: "For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ" (Col. 2: 5).

We are to love God, the Panagia, the Saints, the Church and to obey the Church and its tradition.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.